ROSE NOLEN: Politicians need to pay attention closer to home

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 | 5:41 p.m. CDT

I got involved in Missouri politics early in life. I started reading about it when I was a child, and I couldn’t wait until I got old enough to vote.

Fortunately, my mother was involved in politics, so I had an opportunity to start working at the polls when I was young.

I’ll always be glad that I got acquainted with the political situation before it became so corrupt. When I grew up, the two political parties were both interested in making the government work. Between elections the parties worked together to keep things moving.

I lived in a small town where the people who ran for office were usually well known in the community. The person running for mayor could be the same person who delivered your week’s groceries from the grocery store.

He may have run for office against the man who ran the lumber mill. When the election was over, people went back to work at the same jobs as usual.

In those days, people were not lifelong enemies before and after the election. In fact many of the people were in the same family.

Sometimes, one brother belonged to one party, and another brother belonged to the other party. But like most other people in town, both went to their grandmother’s house for Sunday dinner.

On the Fourth of July, they rode in separate cars for the Memorial Day parade. And that’s what it meant to be in separate parties.

For a long time, most African-Americans in our community voted for the same party that was in office at the time slavery was abolished. The older family members took the responsibility for explaining to family members how they should vote.

Ultimately, people began to study which political position they preferred, and then, that’s the way they voted.

Today, young people are not as interested in politics as they used to be. There is a reason for that. Politicians do not take the time to explain to young people how politics affects their lives.

Every person who is elected to public office should hold a meeting once a week to inform people about their job and the importance of keeping informed and interested in public positions.

Maintaining a democratic society is a very important venture. Understanding how the society operates is every citizen’s job. We need to work at it every day.

Let’s keep it going.

You can join the conversation with Rose M. Nolen by calling her at 882-5734 or emailing her at

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